| In this July, 2013 photo, military trucks carry Rodong missiles during a military parade at
Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. Kyodo News/AP
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order, which took effect on Thursday and runs through April 25, the day that marks the founding of North Korea’s army, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Following the order, meant “to prepare for any additional missile launches,” a destroyer was dispatched to the Sea of Japan and will fire if North Korea launches a missile that Tokyo deems in danger of striking or falling on Japanese territory, the source said.
|North Korea fired shells across a disputed sea boundary, according to South Korean officials. South Korean
troops returned fire into North Korean waters. CBS News’ Seth Doane reports.
Tensions have been building between North Korea and its neighbors since Pyongyang – in an apparent show of defiance – fired two Rodong missiles on March 26, just as the leaders of Japan, South Korea and the United States were sitting down to discuss containing the North Korean nuclear threat. That first firing in four years of mid-range missiles that can hit Japan followed a series of short-range rocket launches over the past two months. The Rodong ballistic missiles fell into the sea after flying 650 km (400 miles), short of a maximum range thought to be some 1,300 km, Japan said.
Since then, North Korea has rattled sabres by firing artillery rounds into South Korean waters, prompting the South to fire back; South Korea has test-fired a new ballistic missile with a range of 500 km; and Pyongyang has threatened an unspecified “new form” of nuclear test.
|North Korea launched two medium-range missiles recently while its rivals, South Korea,
Japan and the U.S., were holding a summit to discuss security threats from the North.
At the same time, Japan and North Korea resumed talks – suspended since Pyongyang test-launched a long-range missile more than a year ago – over the North’s nuclear and missile programs, as well as the fate of Japanese abducted in the 1970s and 1980s to help train North Korean spies.
Onodera has avoided publicly announcing the new missile-intercept order so as not to put a chill on those talks, Japanese media said.
He also did not deploy Patriot missile batteries that would be the last line of Defense against incoming warheads, the source told Reuters.
Japanese Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan are equipped with advanced radar equipment able to track multiple targets and carry missiles designed to take out targets at the edge of space. – Yahoo.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations Sunday, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbours.
In unusually forceful remarks about China, Hagel drew a direct line between Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region and the ongoing territorial disputes between China, Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea.
“I think we’re seeing some clear evidence of a lack of respect and intimidation and coercion in Europe today with what the Russians have done with Ukraine,” Hagel told reporters after a meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. “We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all nations of the world, that in the 21st century this will not stand, you cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe.”
Hagel, who will travel to China later this week, called the Asian nation a “great power,” and added, “with this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how you employ that military power.”
He said he will talk to the Chinese about having respect for their neighbours, and said, “coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict. All nations, all people deserve respect no matter how large or how small.”
Still, he said he looks forward to having an honest, straightforward dialogue with the Chinese to talk about ways the two nations and their militaries can work better together.
The announcement of the deployments of additional destroyers to Japan came as tensions with North Korea spiked again, with Pyongyang continuing to threaten additional missile and nuclear tests. – National Post.